Volunteers help after Whiting fire
By Christin Nance Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org January 21, 2013 8:56PM
Celeste Alvarodo (R-L), Elysa Roldan, Ella Zvonar, Julia Cavazos, Kalie Zvonar, Alexis Santos, and Mary Markusic pose with a truck full of items donated to help pepole affected by a recent apartment fire in Whiting during a donation drive held at the Whiting Elks Club on Monday January 21, 2013. The donation drive was organized by the sixth grade girls who attend St. John The Baptist School. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 21, 2013 8:59PM
WHITING — A burned out shell was all that remained Monday morning of a building that once housed seven apartments and a dress shop in downtown Whiting, but a few blocks away Whiting residents were showing their generosity by donating clothes, housewares and money for the families displaced by the Sunday fire.
No one was hurt in the blaze at 1401 119th St., but the building and its contents were completely destroyed. Fire investigators haven’t determined the cause of the fire. Part of 119th Street remains blocked off since water from the fire hoses froze on the street and sidewalk, creating very slick conditions.
Volunteers from the Red Cross and the North Township Trustee’s Office stepped in to help residents find a place to stay. Word of mouth and posts on the Our KIND of Town Facebook page led to dozens of donations by noon at the Whiting Elks Lodge. The lodge was quickly filling up even as Whiting resident Teresa Zvonar and other volunteers transported donations to the Whiting Community Center, located at 1938 Clark St., where donations will be accepted through 5 p.m. Wednesday.
As of Monday afternoon, volunteers had reached their limit on clothing donations, but housewares, toiletries, and monetary donations are still welcome.
A group of sixth grade students at Whiting’s St. John the Baptist School came up with the donation drive after seeing the devastating fire on their way home from a basketball game Sunday night.
“We felt really bad for them and didn’t know what to do, so my friend Kalie Zvonar suggested we say a prayer for them,” said East Chicago resident Celeste Alvarado, 11. “When we got home, we started talking about what we could do for them and thought about collecting donations.”
Whiting resident Lora Shade, who helped form the Our KIND of Town page, was excited by the turnout.
“We just started the page a few months ago to do randome acts of kindness,” Shade said. “We never expected this.”